Sistine Chapel - or not
With all good intentions I got the BOSS up early and we caught the morning rush hour train to St Peters. I had heard about the legendary long lines to get into the Sistine chapel, but when we arrived, even though it was only just past eight o'clock we were shocked to see that the line already reached the corner 500m down the road. The line was not a single line but six deep across the footpath so we had to walk on the road to reach the end of it. It was only when we made it to the first corner that we realised the line had already built up around a second and third corner all the way back to the forecourt of St Peters about two kilometres away. Realising that this was not going to be a one or two hour wait as we first thought but instead it would be more like a five hour wait in the hot sun, we very reluctantly agreed that the Sistine chapel was not going to be achieved by us that day. The line to get into St Peters was only about 15mins and we joined the queue to bravely walk the 320 steps to the top of the dome. It was well worth ever single step. It was a clear morning and the view over Rome was magnificent. We spent the next two hours fighting the crowds inside the church looking at interesting mosaics and statues.
Tip #13 unless you are inclined towards Catholicism or are interested in popes names and dates, do not pay five euros for the audio guide. Although extremely informative with fifty different listening posts, it was not very interesting particularly for the BOSS.
Having abandoned the idea of the Sistine chapel and having accomplished the basilica in two hours,we still had the better part of the day to further explore Rome. We walked some kilometres across the river and through the bohemian section of Rome to Piazza Navrona and the Pantheon, both of which we found so incredibly overrun with tourists that we didn't linger long. The BOSS had a blister on her toe that was threatening to engulf her entire foot, so we ended our five kilometre walk with a bus ride back to the hotel. The bus ride itself was almost equivalent to a rollercoaster ride as the extra long concertina bus jolted its way along the cobbled streets.
We had agreed to meet the boys close to the Pantheon for dinner and took the same bumpy bus ride back to the piazza. We enjoyed more good Italian fare with the BOSS trying a black truffle risotto. The walk home along the Tiber River on the balmy spring evening was the perfect end to our Rome experience.